Spotlight: Michael Westhafer

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Spotlight on a Solar Pro: Michael Westhafer

For October’s spotlight on a solar pro, Renu wanted to highlight someone who is praised by his coworkers and has a passion for the environment: Michael Westhafer. Not to mention, he was July’s Field Employee of the Month!

Michael Westhafer was born in Charlotte, NC and went to college at Appalachian State University, where his love for the earth and renewables began. “I became interested in renewable energy when I decided to study Sustainable Development at App. State. I realized the magnitude of human effects on our ecosystem and acknowledged that we if we want a healthy planet for future generations then we need to shift from conventional fossil fuels to a renewable energy source”. After graduating, he got involved in the trades and eventually got an offer with Renu to work on our electrical team. 

In response to his thoughts on battery systems and energy storage Michael says: “they give us the ability to use solar energy during a utility grid outage. A huge limitation to our electric grid is that we don’t currently have a way to store energy after it is produced. This creates a wasteful energy model. Having the ability to store energy in batteries will help promote energy efficiency and independence.” 

If he could write a more informal, fun job title for himself that describes his favorite work responsibility or activity, it would be “Sun Saver”. Michael has worked for Renu since last September and has loved every minute of it.

“I approach my role with a positive attitude. The work I do is a reflection of my mentality, I believe that keeping a positive attitude about my work helps maintain a higher standard for the installations that I am part of.”

In his free time, he enjoys gardening and hiking with his dog. In addition to being a solar expert, he loves carpentry and woodworking. Most of his coworkers don’t know this, but he has been a beekeeper for almost 2 years. 

Motivated and well-rounded, Michael Westhafer is a perfect example of the ideal employee at Renu Energy Solutions. We are proud to have him as a part of our field installer team and the Renu family!

Read our feature on another solar professional: Frazier Spann, Solar Team Lead

Read another feature on a solar professional: Hannah Elliott, Operations Supervisor

Read about the experience of Austin Winecoff, Summer 2018 Solar Installation Intern

Read about our two summer 2018 operations interns, Jenny Nguyen and Sam Robbins

Read about Logan Peterson, our summer/fall 2018 Operations Department Intern

Read about Christina McClain, our Jr. Project Coordinator

Read about Jeff Stewart, our Director of Alternative Finance

Read about July’s Solar Pro- Matthew Culley

Frequently Asked Questions About Solar for Your Home:

How exactly does going solar and a solar system itself work?
Solar energy begins with sunlight that hits the panels to produce energy that flows into your inverter, which converts the DC energy into Alternating Current (AC) electricity that can be used to power your home. This same energy is then consumed when powering your home’s light, appliances, gizmos, and gadgets. If you feel your home isn’t producing the energy that it needs, the utility will fill in the gaps. If you system produces more energy than needed, that energy will go to the grid and your utility will credit you for the unused power.
How many solar panels do I need for my home?
At Renu Energy Solutions we design our solar panel systems size based on three main factors.

Roof-size/available space: When we look at the size of your roof and the space available, we gather data that tell us the maximum number of solar panels your home or site can hold and we even consider shading. We use a software “Suneye” which takes a 360 picture of your roof and we use this photo to determine if your home is a good candidate for solar.

Energy Usage: When we determine energy usage we look at your past electrical bills from over the course of a year to make sure your system isn’t too big or too small.

Your Budget: We take your budget seriously and most importantly, we want you to be satisfied with our services. We take your feedback on how much you want to spend so that we can size your system appropriately.

What is solar net-metering?
Net-metering is a type of utility policy that controls how your system is connected to the grid and how you are credited for the solar energy you produce.
Does Duke Energy offer net-metering?
Yes! Both Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress territories in NC offer net-metering when your homes goes solar. If you are interested in net-metering, no worries. Our team will guide you through the process as certain utilities have a different application procedure.
Curious about the cost of a home solar system?
When our clients ask this question, we immediately tell Tham about the federal tax credit that comes with going solar. The Federal tax credit for going solar is 26% in 2020. For example, if the total cost of you system was $22,000, when you subtract 26% you are then left with a %16,280 solar system. There is not set price for a home going solar as there are many factors that contribute to the total cost. The price of a solar home can range from $10k to $100k based on the size of your roof, energy usage, aesthetic preferences, and of course, budget.

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